My Phoney Mum


 My mother is a complete phoney and lies through her teeth when it suits her. 

My husband works for a well-known publishing house.  He also comes from a rather grand family but he himself is both modest and down to earth. One of the things I love about him is that he takes everyone at their own worth and that includes me.  When I tell him I feel very lucky he found me he says he feels exactly the same.  

It is absolutely cringe-making that whenever my mother sees him she takes on a different persona.  She talks ‘posh’ and pretends, for example, that she is an avaricious reader.  The truth is she has invariably just skimmed one or two book reviews.  She usually comes out with nonsense that she couldn’t put it down, was up all night reading it when the truth is that it is quite a heavyweight book that doesn’t even try to be a thriller.  She also makes a song and dance about the author saying she met him or her at a literary festival and found him or her charming, when I know for sure she has never been to one.  My husband saw through this the first time he met her, but finds it quietly amusing.  I however want to sink through the floorboards.     Should I tell her how ridiculous she sounds? 



This is a tricky situation.  Often people who have deep feelings of insecurity and shame cannot face who they actually are and instead portray themselves as they would like to be. And it’s likely that your husband’s background has intensified her sense of inadequacy and caused her behaviour to become more extreme. Tempting as it might be to point out how ridiculous she is being, this will only make her both more defensive and angry. Instead why not try to gently reassure her of some of the things your husband likes about her. The more she feels accepted by him the less she is likely to exaggerate her literary expertise.  

It would also be a good idea for you to accept her for what she is.  Your husband is not put off by her, nor is it affecting your relationship. It means that he does indeed love you and take you for who and what you are and that includes your embarrassing mother.